A celebration of all things female, the sixth annual GLAMOUR Women of the Year Awards recognises successful, strong and independent South African females who have excelled in their respective fields. These eight exceptional ladies are proof that extraordinary women enrich every aspect of South African life, from passionate campaigners to stunning style icons, grand entertainers to charity workers. So get ready for a case of extreme inspiration – you’re about to meet 2013’s eight greats!

Introducing the GLAMOUR Women of the Year 2013 winners:

THE SOUND MAKER — Pretty Yende

Raised in a small township outside Piet Retief, 28-year-old University of Cape Town graduate and soprano Pretty Yende has become an international singing sensation. Her incredible achievements include winning every category in 2010 at Vienna’s Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition (where she was discovered), receiving President Jacob Zuma’s Order of Ikhamanga (recognising outstanding achievement in the arts) and features in Vogue and The New York Times. Pretty has wowed audiences in Paris, London and New York, and sang with legendary tenor Andrea Bocelli at the 2010 FIFA World Cup closing ceremony. “I’ve had to learn Italian in three months and memorise an entire role in a week in New York. But I’ve also had a four-minute long standing ovation,” says Pretty. “It’s been an incredible journey!”


She’s won SABC’s second season of So You Think You’re Funny?, written and performed three one-woman shows and appeared on David Kau’s Blacks Only tour, but it’s as the faux-fawning host of weekly YouTube phenomenon The Anne Hirsch Show that comedienne Anne Hirsch, 29, has broken new ground. A playful parody of our celebrity-obsessed society, Anne serves up zany interviews with SA celebs that have attracted the show thousands of fans. “I’m curious about how fame works. The show’s my comment on how reality TV and the internet have changed celebrity,” Anne explains. The Bloemfontein-born joker is also a writer for ZA News and is currently performing in Cracks and the City with Shimmy Isaacs, Marianne Thamm and Anthea Thompson.

THE POP ICON — Toya Delazy

Her retro styling, happy-go-lucky attitude and catchy sound make Toya Delazy, 23, every bit the passionate performer. Since exploding onto SA’s music scene in 2012 with her debut single ‘Pump it on’ and album Due Drop, she hasn’t stopped – and that’s how she likes it: “Making music fills me with joy.” And this Howard College graduate has come a long way from her rural town of eMahlabathini, north of Durban, having already picked up three SAMA awards and garnered a BET nomination for Best International Act Africa. Toya also boasts a Legit clothing range and her own company, Delazy Entertainment, among her extraordinary achievements. “I hope my music inspires young women to see how far dedication can take you,” she says.

THE STYLISTA — Felicity Spies

Felicity Spies is a woman on a thoroughly fashionable mission: to infuse her love of South African fashion with her theatrical background so that customers at her boutique, Egality, can enjoy an “entertaining fashion experience”. The British-born fashionista moved to Joburg in 2007 and immediately fell in love with South African designers, but was “disappointed by how few shops stocked local labels”. Spurred on by her experience as a consultant for Edcon and inspired by Britain’s Liberty of London store, she filled the gap in the market by launching Egality in 2008, as a pop-up concept, and as of 2011, the boutique found a permanent home in Joburg’s Parkhurst, stocking garments from brands like Avant Apparel and Joel Janse van Vuuren. Felicity strongly believes that an outfit has the ability to “transform you from one character into the next”. And with that mantra, any occasion becomes a show!

THE MEDIA DIVA — Liezel van der Westhuizen

Famed for her warmth, vivacity and endless legs, Liezel van der Westhuizen is a media darling with an ability to accomplish anything she sets her mind to. Not only has the 33 year old participated in the demanding Iron Man 2010 and the Dusi Canoe Marathon in 2012, but she has also found the time to learn isiXhosa. Liezel first stepped into the world of media in 2004 when she joined Jacaranda 94.2 FM. Two years later she worked as a continuity presenter on SABC3, making her big break in 2008 as an Idols presenter, where she beat out competition Pabi Moloi and Janez Vermeiren to become only the second woman in the world to present the talent show. In 2010 she joined the SABC breakfast show Expresso but left after two years to complete her PhD in media and communications. As she sees it, “There’s always time to do more. I’ll just have to sleep less!”

THE UPLIFTER — Nicola Jackman

Dynamic, loving and charismatic, Nicola Jackman, 36, is a self-described ‘joy catalyst’ – one of those people who makes you feel instantly warmer and brighter. And while you may recognise the Zimbabwe-born “charity headcase” from her days as Isidingo’s Elise Buller, it’s as co-founder of The UPliftment Programme, a non-profit care-clowning organisation, that she’s found true fulfillment. In 2004 she launched her pilot programme at Cape Town’s Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, and since then she’s trained volunteers who have gone on to clown for more than 3 500 children a month in Joburg and Cape Town. “Published studies prove that when children expect a visit from care-clowns, their serotonin levels increase, which aids their recovery,” explains Nicola. Nicola also travels to theatres and schools as her alter ego, MAfrika, an imaginary girl from the world of MinXa. “The MAfrika show is about bringing love and lightness into people lives,” says Nicola. Add in her inspiring ‘joy talks’ for adults and plans to extend the UP movement to KwaZulu Natal and take MAfrika on an international tour, and Nicola’s wish to “spread my message of joy and love across the nation” is certainly on track!

THE READERS’ CHOICE — Minnie Dlamini

Minenhle Dlamini, 23 – with her megawatt smile, bedazzled gowns and effervescent charm – is no stranger to the limelight. “I’ve always loved being